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Amazon Music’s Free Spotify Rival is ‘Imminent’


Amazon has entered into discussions to launch a free, ad-supported music service. The world’s biggest e-retailer would market the free music service through its voice-activated Echo speakers, sources say, and would offer a limited catalogue. It could become available as early as next week.

“Alexa, play free music.”

Until now, Amazon has offered its limited Prime Music service as a way to drive Prime subscriptions, which cost $119 a year for perks like free delivery. It also sells Amazon Music Unlimited subscriptions separately for $9.99 a month, reducing the fee to $7.99 for Prime members and $3.99 a month for people who only listen on an Echo device.

The arrival of the ad-supported service promises to boost Amazon’s presence as a major player in the music streaming market. It will create a new freemium ‘funnel’ for millions of customers, whom Jeff Bezos’s company can then target with an up-sell into Amazon Music Unlimited – the firm’s paid-for, on-demand premium streaming platform.

This could massively change the streaming market, Amazon is the biggest company in the world with the biggest user base and could cause massive problems for Spotify in the ‘Voice’ Market.

Users will be able to ‘ask’ Alexa to shuffle songs by specific artists, we’re told, but will not be able to ask directly for specific tracks on demand. Amazon will be running advertising within the new free service, which is likely to include first-party marketing both for Amazon Prime and Amazon Music Unlimited.

One major label insider said: “This is a very exciting development. The music industry seems to be in a good place with Amazon and Apple right now – but less so with Spotify.”

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